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Review

The Role of Expectation and Beliefs on the Effects of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation

1
Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, 37131 Verona, Italy
2
Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
3
Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC), University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Leonor J Romero Lauro
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(11), 1526; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111526
Received: 21 October 2021 / Revised: 14 November 2021 / Accepted: 16 November 2021 / Published: 18 November 2021
Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques are used in clinical and cognitive neuroscience to induce a mild magnetic or electric field in the brain to modulate behavior and cortical activation. Despite the great body of literature demonstrating promising results, unexpected or even paradoxical outcomes are sometimes observed. This might be due either to technical and methodological issues (e.g., stimulation parameters, stimulated brain area), or to participants’ expectations and beliefs before and during the stimulation sessions. In this narrative review, we present some studies showing that placebo and nocebo effects, associated with positive and negative expectations, respectively, could be present in NIBS trials, both in experimental and in clinical settings. The lack of systematic evaluation of subjective expectations and beliefs before and after stimulation could represent a caveat that overshadows the potential contribution of placebo and nocebo effects in the outcome of NIBS trials. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-invasive brain stimulation; transcranial magnetic stimulation; transcranial direct current stimulation; placebo effect; nocebo effect; expectation non-invasive brain stimulation; transcranial magnetic stimulation; transcranial direct current stimulation; placebo effect; nocebo effect; expectation
MDPI and ACS Style

Braga, M.; Barbiani, D.; Emadi Andani, M.; Villa-Sánchez, B.; Tinazzi, M.; Fiorio, M. The Role of Expectation and Beliefs on the Effects of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 1526. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111526

AMA Style

Braga M, Barbiani D, Emadi Andani M, Villa-Sánchez B, Tinazzi M, Fiorio M. The Role of Expectation and Beliefs on the Effects of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(11):1526. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111526

Chicago/Turabian Style

Braga, Miriam, Diletta Barbiani, Mehran Emadi Andani, Bernardo Villa-Sánchez, Michele Tinazzi, and Mirta Fiorio. 2021. "The Role of Expectation and Beliefs on the Effects of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation" Brain Sciences 11, no. 11: 1526. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111526

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